The mainstream media is being silent as the Biden administration holds unaccompanied migrant children in Border Patrol custody longer than legally allowed, the head of the Border Patrol union stated. The minors are being held in the same “cages” the media and Democrat politicians loudly criticized the Trump administration for.
How else are we to understand the words of Mark Weber, spokesperson for Health and Human Services (HHS), the agency that oversees the welfare of unaccompanied migrant children? Weber told the Washington Post that “the Biden administration is moving away from the ‘law-enforcement focused’ approach of the Trump administration to one in which child welfare is more centric”. That may play well as a soundbite, but how welfare-centric is it to place children in jail in the first place? And if you don’t think it’s a jail, you should know that the “unaccompanied teens sent to the Carrizo Springs shelter will not be allowed to leave the facility”, as reported by the news website BorderReport.com.
It gets worse. The camp’s operation will be “based on a federal emergency management system”, where “trailers are labeled with names such as Alpha, Charlie and Echo”, names which are commonly used in military detention practices. (Camp Echo, for example, is a notorious site in Guantánamo Bay.) And while staff members will thankfully not be sporting military gear, the government spokesman makes a point to tell us that they will “wear matching black-and-white T-shirts displaying their roles: disaster case manager, incident support, emergency management” and that “the most colorful trailer is at the entryway, where flowers, butterflies and handmade posters still hang on its walls from Carrizo’s first opening in 2019”.
National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd told Bob Price that as of Monday, Border Patrol officials held more than 800 Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) in custody. Despite the legal requirement to release the children to other federal agencies within 72 hours, more than 212 remained in custody longer than the legal limit.
“Today, [White House Press Secretary] Jen Psaski said the Administration could not hold the children in other locations due to the Covid protocols including social distancing,” Judd told Price, “but what she didn’t tell the media was that the children in [Border Patrol’s] custody were being held in conditions that have nearly no way to social distance.”
Psaki’s remarks came in a Tuesday press briefing in response to questions from Fox News White House Correspondent Peter Doocy. Forbes tweeted a video of the exchange.
To be clear, Judd states that the Biden administration is holding unaccompanied minors in Border Patrol custody longer than the law allows in conditions where social distancing cannot be maintained in order to keep social distancing in other federal facilities.
“The hypocrisy from the left and the mainstream media truly shows they care nothing for the children they used as pawns to attack President Trump.” Judd said.
“Today Jen Psaski said ‘Customs and Border Control’ [not Customs and Border Protection] continue to transfer unaccompanied children to HHS’ Office of Refugee and Resettlement (ORR),” the Border Patrol union leader explained. “She went to great lengths to explain that due to the pandemic and social distancing, ORR only has capacity for a certain number of children.”
“What she didn’t explain is that the children that ORR doesn’t have that capacity to take are left in facilities far worse than those of HHS,” Judd continued. “In fact, they are being held in the same locations they accused the Trump Administration of inhuman acts when they said he was holding ‘kids in cages.’”
U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) attacked the Biden administration for their expanded policy of opening detention facilities in South Texas.
“This is not okay, never has been okay, never will be okay — no matter the administration or party,” the New York congresswoman wrote.
Despite shortages of detention space, the Biden administration, through the U.S> Border Patrol, issued instructions to immediately release migrants in South Texas in order to deal with overcrowding in temporary holding facilities,
The continuing increase in the apprehension of unaccompanied minors is creating a crisis for the Biden administration along the Southwest border.
The number of Unaccompanied Alien Children illegally crossing the border from Mexico into the U.S. is increasing from month to month, according to reports from U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials. In January 2021, Border Patrol agents apprehended 5,871 unaccompanied minors. This is up from 4,995 in December 2020 and 3,076 in January 2020.
Meanwhile, the Carrizo Springs site is a secure site (the kids can’t leave), is unlicensed by the state of Texas (it’s operated by a government contractor for the Office of Refugee Resettlement), and is expected to hold children for 30 days, as reported by the Washington Post, which is obviously longer than the 20 days dictated by the Flores Agreement. The detention is also very expensive, coming in at a cost of $775 a day per child compared with $290 a day for permanent centers.
All of these extremely disturbing facts surrounding this detention should elicit massive amounts of outrage in all of us, but the Biden administration seeks to deflect the criticism by assuring us their version of childhood detention is thoughtful and humane, even while opening a facility where kids are delivered in unmarked vans to an internment camp that is geographically remote and difficult to access.
Does it feel like we’re being sold a bill of goods? It sure does to me. Yes, it’s not as malevolent as the family separation policies of Trump, but if our way of judging political conduct now is whether something is simply “better” or “worse” than Trump was, then we’ve elevated Trump’s actions into our new standard of behavior. And when we do that, we’ve lost any genuine sense of judgement in the first place.
There’s no question that, with rising numbers of unaccompanied minors arriving at the border during Covid, the Biden administration has a difficult road ahead. But expanding a long discredited system that detains children cannot be the answer, no matter how good the government wants to make it sound.
Every government spins their message. But if we fall unthinkingly for the spin, the fault isn’t with them. It’s with us.
Source: usatoday.com, theguardian.com, forbes.com
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